Week of October 4 , 2004

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Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

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       Weekly News Archives

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National

Your help is needed

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

 

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)      Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)      Improve or operate Barrier I

3)      Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  If the states do not pick up the tab for the missing $1.8 million and the feds don’t appropriate the necessary funds to keep this program alive, we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

           

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

           

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and construction is scheduled for completion by December 2004. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. We need funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

           

We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes

 

The Second Barrier

A second larger, longer-life barrier is scheduled for completion by the end of this year,  but the construction cost exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.

           

The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or 

more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.

 

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.

           

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

           

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

           

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if

 


Interior announces more than $70 million in grants for Endangered Species

To Support Land Acquisition and Conservation Planning

 Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced more than $70 million in  grants to 28 states and one territory to support conservation planning and  acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered fish, wildlife  and plant species.  The grants will benefit species ranging from the  Delmarva fox squirrel in the East to peninsular bighorn sheep in the West.

 

 Funded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and  authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, the grants will  enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and  other agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire and  protect habitat to support the conservation of threatened and  endangered  species.

 

 The Cooperative Endangered Species Fund this year provides $49 million  through the Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program,  $8.6 million through the Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants  Program and $13.5 million through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants  Program.  The three programs were established to

help reduce potential  conflicts between the conservation of threatened and endangered species  and land development and use.

 

A Habitat Conservation Plan is an agreement between a landowner and the  Service that allows the landowner to incidentally take a threatened or  endangered species in the course of otherwise lawful activities when the  landowner agrees to conservation measures to minimize and mitigate the  impact of the taking.  A Habitat Conservation Plan may also be developed  by a county or state to cover certain activities of all landowners within  their jurisdiction and may address multiple species.  There are more than  357 Habitat Conservation Plans currently in effect, covering 458 separate  species on approximately 39 million acres, with some 407 additional plans  under development, covering approximately 100 million acres.

 

The Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Program provides grants to states and territories to support the development of Habitat Conservation Plans, through funding of baseline surveys and inventories,  document preparation, outreach and similar planning activities.


Improving National Parks

Record levels of funding are being invested in national parks. The 2005 National Park Service operations budget of $1.8 billion is 20 % higher than when President Bush took office. This is more funding per acre, per employee, and per visitor than at any other time in the history of national parks. 

 

Ø     ►  President Bush is meeting his commitment to invest $4.9 billion over five years to address the backlog of maintenance needs he inherited.  More than 4,000 improvement projects are completed, planned or underway.

Ø

In three years, funding has nearly tripled to preserve and study the natural resources in national parks.

 

The Administration has established or proposed new national parks, including the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon and Washington, and has accepted the World War II Veterans Memorial. Secretary Norton created the first historic preservation and technology training center, designated 43 new National Historic Landmarks and transferred 18 lighthouses to local preservation groups.


Bush Administration Announces New Roadless Rules 

Background

One of the programs adopted in the final weeks of President Clinton’s Administration was the so-called “Roadless Initiative,” which could have prevented recreational activities on 58.5 million acres of federal forests and changed the way land is managed in over 120 national forests.  The Clinton Roadless Initiative would have prevented any road-building or logging on those 58.5 million acres, essentially creating wilderness areas within national forests.  The rule was scheduled to go into effect in May 2001, but the Bush Administration postponed the rule.  It was also delayed through several lawsuits. 

 

The American Horse Council (AHC) submitted comments in 2001 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) objecting to the Clinton proposal.  The AHC expressed concern that the needs of the recreational horse trail rider had been often ignored in national forests.  Issues such as closure of equine trails, adequate parking at trailheads to accommodate horse trailers and safe stabling areas for horses at campgrounds had not always been addressed.  This is particularly important because horseback riding and the use of recreational pack and saddle stock have a historic and traditional basis on federal lands and must be included with other activities that are expressly allowed.

  

The AHC also argued that the Clinton proposal was in essence creating new wilderness areas within national forests and stated that any new wilderness designation must not interfere with the original intent of the Wilderness Act.  Also, any subsequent laws passed, which include historical and recreational pack and saddle stock use, should be equal in importance to the four "public purposes" specified in the Wilderness Act.

 

The AHC concluded by stating that no individual or group has the right to exclusive, unregulated use of our national forests.  While the industry supports responsible and open consideration of multiple-use of public lands based upon environmentally-sound principles, it opposes closure, or extreme regulation, that denies responsible access to public lands appropriate for equine related recreation. 

 

Update

The Bush Administration announced on July 12th that the Forest Service would reinstate the interim directive to conserve roadless areas that were protected under the 2001 rule.  The interim directive will remain in effect for 18 months until the finalization of a new roadless rule which was proposed by the Bush Administration.  The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on July 16th and ended on Sept 24.

 

The new rule emphasizes conserving roadless areas by working with the states on state-specific regulations.  In essence, the responsibility to keep segments of the national forests “roadless” would be the responsibility of the states and particularly the state governors.  The new rule would allow governors to petition the federal government if they wished to keep certain areas roadless.  Under the proposed rule, a governor could also petition for less protection. If the Forest Service accepts the petition, it would negotiate a detailed plan with the state. The Bush Administration announced that any action to conserve roadless areas in national forests would be based on five “common-sense”, conservation principles.  They would: 

 

•         Make informed decisions to ensure the roadless rule is implemented with more reliable information and accurate mapping, including local expertise and experience;

•         Work with states, tribes, local communities and the public through a process that is fair, open and responsive to local input and information;

•         Protect forests to ensure that the potential negative effects of severe wildfire, insect and disease activity are addressed;

•         Protect communities, homes, and property from the risk of severe wildfire and other risks that might exist on adjacent federal lands; and,

•         Ensure that states, tribes, and private citizens who own property within roadless areas have access to their property as required by existing law. 

 

As mentioned above, the new proposal would allow governors to work with the USDA on state-specific rulemakings through a petition process.  Petitions would identify areas for inclusion as well as ways to protect public health and safety, reduce wildfire risks to communities and critical wildlife habitat, maintain critical infrastructure, such as dams and utilities, and assure citizens access to private property.


Frivolous Enviro Lawsuits Hurt Economy, Environment & Taxpayer

Washington, DC - The House of Representatives late last month passed H.R. 4571, the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA). While this legislation largely targets baseless tort lawsuits, it will also make great strides in stemming the tide of frivolous litigation initiated by environmental fundraising organizations. Regardless of the plaintiff, frivolous litigation chokes the legal system, kills jobs, and hampers economic growth.

 

H.R. 4571 would restore mandatory sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits in violation of Role 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, requiring monetary sanctions against any party making a frivolous claim, including attorneys' fees. It would also allow Rule 11's provisions preventing frivolous lawsuits to apply to state cases in which a state judge finds the case affects interstate commerce by threatening jobs and economic losses to other states.

 

"Frivolous lawsuits filed under the guise of environmentalism actually hurt the environment and hinder economic growth at

the same time," said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA). "Because the environmental organizations that file these suits are entitled to recover taxpayer-funded attorneys' fees and court awards - win or lose - environmental litigation has become big business in America. The American taxpayer should not foot the bill for this, nor should our economy have to suffer the dampening affects these suits cause. These and other frivolous actions prevent the creation of good jobs, which is why I was pleased to support this legislation today."

 

Some environmental groups are largely unapologetic for this rampant, frivolous litigation. For example, Peter Morton of the Wilderness Society stated in a discussion on federal land use policy that, "If you bid on a lease on public land, you can expect (environmental litigation)" regardless of the merits. (Dow Jones, 01/20/2003)

 

The assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division has stated that there are 7100 active environmental lawsuits being litigated in the United States today. (Casper Star Tribune, 06/16/2004)


Regional

Your help is needed

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

 

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)      Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)      Improve or operate Barrier I

3)      Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  If the states do not pick up the tab for the missing $1.8 million and the feds don’t appropriate the necessary funds to keep this program alive, we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

           

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

           

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and construction is scheduled for completion by December 2004. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. We need funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

           

We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes

 

The Second Barrier

A second larger, longer-life barrier is scheduled for completion by the end of this year,  but the construction cost exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.

           

The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or 

more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.

 

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.

           

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

           

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

           

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for October 1, 2004

Current Lake Levels:

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago, ranging from 7 to 12 inches higher than last year’s levels. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are still below their long-time averages by 3 and 11 inches, respectively. Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are above their long-time averages by 1, 5 and 10 inches, respectively.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was expected to be near average during the month of September. Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were expected to be below average in September. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be above average for the month of September.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

A fall like weather pattern is expected to arrive for the weekend and will persist into next week. An upper level low-pressure

system currently over Canada will push into the region and keep temperatures cool. A few snowflakes are possible across portions of the northern basin through Monday, while the remainder of the basin can expect a few rain showers.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

Lake Superior is nearing its seasonal maximum level and is expected to drop by an inch over the next month. Lake Michigan-Huron is in its seasonal decline and its level is expected to fall 4 inches over the next month. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are continuing their seasonal decline and are expected to drop by 5-9 inches over the next month.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.


Illinois

Anglers Await fall trout program - October 16

DuPage Forest Preserve District Trout Stocking

As part of its fisheries management program, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will stock three lakes with rainbow trout to create better fishing opportunities within the forest preserves. Lakes to be stocked include: Silver Lake in Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville (about 4,400 fish), Deep Quarry Lake in West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett (about 1,800 fish) and Grove Lake in Wood Dale Grove Forest Preserve (about 300 fish). Stocking will take place between Friday, October 1 and Friday, October 15. These three lakes will be closed to all fishing during this time, allowing the trout to acclimate to their new environment.

 

The fall trout season begins on Saturday, October 16.

Preserves will be open normal hours, one hour after sunrise to one hour after sunset. Anglers ages 16 and over are required to have a valid Illinois fishing license and Inland Trout stamp in their possession. Although the Forest Preserve District encourages catch and release fishing, the daily creel limit is five trout. There is no length limit. Popular trout-fishing bait ranges from night crawlers and artificial lures to canned corn.

 

For more info, call Visitor Services weekdays at (630) 933-7248 for a free copy of the "Fishing in DuPage County" guide. You can also get up-to-date information from the Outdoor Report by calling (630) 871-6422 or by accessing the District's Web site at www.dupageforest.com .


Indiana

Five counties added to pine shoot beetle quarantine 

Decatur, Jennings, Ripley, Union and Vigo counties now on list

They don't have a domed shape and they weren't made by a carmaker in Germany. They are a different kind of beetle and they can cause nurseries with pine and Christmas trees serious problems.

 

The Indiana DNR has confirmed the presence of the pine shoot beetle in five additional counties. As a result, Decatur,

Jennings, Ripley, Union and Vigo counties have been added to the list of counties quarantined for pine shoot beetle.  This brings the total to 60 of Indiana's 92 counties that are infested and quarantined under state and federal law.

 

Under state and federal quarantine law, all nurseries and Christmas tree growers in quarantined counties are required to have an inspection certificate before they can ship pine trees to non-quarantined counties. Spruce, fir, hemlock and other species are not affected by the pine shoot beetle. The growers should contact their local nursery inspector or call 317-232-4120 to arrange for an inspection.

 

Local residents do not need to be concerned about the small one-eighth-inch long, black beetle, which lives in the shoots of pine trees during the summer months, and burrows into the

bark of pine trees in winter. The beetles do not harm wood in  homes, or structures of any type. They require live or very recently killed pine trees in order to feed and reproduce.

 

All Indiana counties north of U.S. 40 are quarantined. Clay County and Putnam County, through which U.S. 40 runs in the western side of the state are not yet known to be infested. A few counties south of U.S. 40 are quarantined although most are not yet infested with this pest.

 

Each year, however, the pest advances a little closer to the Ohio River. If not properly managed, the beetle will rapidly reach to the southern pine forests of Tennessee and Georgia and other southern states, where its presence could cause millions of dollars in losses.

 

The pine shoot beetle is an exotic species from Europe. It was first reported in the United States in 1992 when it was found to be established in several Midwestern states including Indiana. Since its discovery, the species has continued to steadily spread.

 

Damage caused by this pest is usually limited to killing several shoots approximately 4-6 inches in length on a tree.  However, in larger numbers, the beetles can kill already stressed trees and may in fact weaken and kill healthy trees when populations are allowed to get extremely high.


Michigan

Fire danger very high statewide

State wildfire officials late last week announced that fire danger is very high in many locations throughout the state. Actually, much of the Midwest is suffering from the same lack of rainfall that Michigan is realizing.

 

Michigan has not received adequate rainfall through the month of September in most areas. With the warm, dry weather forecast for the week and above normal temperatures expected to continue, fire danger will remain high, especially in Northern Michigan.

 

The DNR responded to several wildfires last week. So far this year, state and federal firefighters have responded to 329 wildfires that burned 1,930 acres, and local fire officials have responded to many more.

 

Improperly extinguished campfires and debris fires have been the leading cause of wildfires so far this season. To maximize 

safety during outdoor burning, remember to: completely extinguish debris fires and/or campfires; never leave a fire unattended; use plenty of water to extinguish your fire and wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces; stir the ashes to find any remaining hot spots and extinguish them with more water; do not simply bury your fire with soil as, in most cases, dry soils present in most areas will not extinguish the fire; never leave a child unattended near a fire; and, have a garden hose or other source of water nearby in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire does escape your control, call for help immediately.

 

DNR officials urge everyone to exercise extreme caution with all outdoor fires, and remember to obtain a burn permit before doing any outdoor burning. Burn permits are required for any outdoor burning, and are issued only for burning leaves, brush or stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited. During periods of high fire danger, permits may be restricted or not issued at all.


Discounted hunting licenses available for military personnel

Michigan DNR officials late last week announced discounted hunting and fishing licenses available Oct. 1 at DNR Operations Service Centers and more than 1,700 retail outlets statewide, for active U.S. Military personnel on leave.

 

The military license discounts are designed to offer a break to Michigan residents who are active military personnel, stationed abroad but home on leave. Those individuals can purchase a fishing license or any hunting license that does not require a separate application, for $1.

 

The program has been in place since 1997, but was offered

only at DNR Operations Service Centers. In light of increasing troop deployment, the DNR has improved access to the discounts by including retail outlets.

 

To qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:

* Active duty personnel

* Currently a Michigan resident and a resident at the time of enlistment

* Stationed outside Michigan

     

Applicants must present proof of military status and leave papers when applying for the discounted licenses.

 


Minnesota

Three Illinois anglers fined $1,950 for 97 sunfish over limit

A freezer full of sunfish and a boatload more didn't bode well recently for a group of Illinois fishermen near Perham in west-central Minnesota.

 

On Sept. 3, Conservation Officer Dennis Lang of Perham noticed a vehicle with an Illinois license plate parked along the shore of Dead Lake twice in three days. The officer observed three men catching a large number of sunfish from an unregistered boat. Lang knew from experience where the men were staying. He obtained the property owner's consent to inspect a refrigerator-freezer and discovered the group to be well over limit for sunfish. Lang returned to the lake. When the

three men came to shore, he found them in possession of 67 sunfish, seven fish over the limit, not counting what was found in the freezer. Twenty is the sunfish possession limit in Minnesota.

 

Lang and another conservation officer determined Richard J. Williams, 61, of Robbins, Ill., John Pennington, 68, of Chicago, Ill., and Robert L. Caldwell, 58, Olympia Fields, Ill., were 97 sunfish overlimit. Fine and restitution for the group amounted to $1,950.

 

Anyone observing illegal fishing activity should contact the local conservation officer or local DNR office, or call the Turn-In-Poacher hotline at 1-800-652-9093.


DNR offers winter weekend workshop for women March 4-6, 2005

Women interested in taking part in a winter workshop offered by the Minnesota DNR's Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program should sign up soon. This year's event will take place March 4-6 at the Gunflint Lodge near Grand Marais.

 

"Winter offerings vary considerably from our spring and fall workshop," said BOW coordinator Jean Bergerson. "Programs such as trapping and polar fleece mitten making are only offered at our winter event. Of course, the weekend will also be filled with traditional winter activities such as snowmobiling, ice fishing, dog mushing and cross-country skiing."

 

Space for this popular annual workshop is limited to 100 women. Bergerson said she expects each spot to fill up quickly. Gunflint Lodge is located about half way up the Gunflint Trail and is surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Women interested in registering for the program should contact either the DNR Information Center at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or Gunflint Lodge at 1-800-328-3325. The $220 cost includes everything - food, lodging, class materials and equipment. Some scholarship assistance is available. Lodging will be in modern cabins. There is a lighted country-ski trail for those who still have energy at the end of each day's activities.

 

The Minnesota DNR's BOW program, which began in 1994, focuses on the teaching women outdoor skills in areas such as hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. It offers a wide variety of half-day clinics and weekend workshops throughout the year. The classes are designed for women 18 years of age and older.

 

For additional information about these and other upcoming BOW programs, log onto the DNR's Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html .


Great Lakes protection is topic of public meetings Oct 5 and 7

During the last three years, the eight Great Lakes states and provinces have worked on developing agreements to improve the management and protection of the Great Lakes. The draft agreements have been released for public comments and are available on the Council of Great Lakes Governor's Web site at www.cglg.org .

 

The Minnesota DNR will host two public information meetings to discuss the proposed agreements and provide an opportunity for public comments. The meeting in Duluth will be co-hosted by the Wisconsin DNR.

 

Date:       Tuesday, Oct. 5    Thursday, Oct. 7

Time:      4 p.m. to 8 p.m.      1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Place:     Duluth                   St. Paul

                Holiday Inn           Best Western Kelly Inn

 

The meetings will start with an open house where people may obtain information about the agreements, ask questions and provide written comments. At 5 p.m. in Duluth and 1:30 p.m. in St. Paul, there will be a presentation followed by an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide comments.

 

Written comments can also be submitted until Oct. 18, 2004, to: Kent Lokkesmoe, director, DNR Waters, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155-4032, e-mail: wateruse@dnr.state.mn.us ; Council of Great Lakes Governors, www.cglg.org , e-mail Annex2001@cglg.org


Mark LaBarbera named DNR Communications Director

Commissioner Gene Merriam announced that Mark LaBarbera, a conservation leader with diverse public and private sector experience, has been hired as director of communications for the Minnesota DNR

 

LaBarbera is the former Senior Vice President of the North American Outdoor Group (NAOG), which includes the North American Hunting Club, North American Fishing Club and National Home Gardening Club, as well as the group's award-winning publications and productions on ESPN. His work at NAOG and elsewhere has resulted in collaborations with many state and federal resource agencies and organizations such as the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, USFS, USFWS, ASA and NSSF.

 

For the past six years, LaBarbera has served outdoor stakeholders in Minnesota and across the United States through his business, Mark LaBarbera & Associates. He is past-President and former chairman of the board for the

Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. He has been president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, the Outdoor Heritage Education Center, and executive producer/co-host with Jan Smaby of the new "Touch of the Wild" program on Twin Cities Public Television. He is a former board member for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.

 

"I look forward to contributing to the DNR, which is respected nationally," he said. "My goal is to help enhance communications among the public, the agency and its resource professionals. Those of us who have lived in Minnesota for a long time sometimes forget the world-class resources and opportunities right here in our own backyard."

 

An avid hunter, angler, wildlife-watcher and boater, LaBarbera was one of four finalists for the Budweiser Outdoorsman of the Year conservation award.

 

LaBarbera replaces C.B. Bylander, who became the DNR's Fish and Wildlife Division Outreach Section Chief.


New York

DEC announces 2004 – 05 Waterfowl hunting dates

Favorable Conditions Expected to Provide Hunters With Successful Season

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced the final dates and regulations for New York State's 2004-05 waterfowl hunting seasons and encouraged sportsmen and women to renew their licenses to take advantage of the excellent hunting opportunities expected this fall.

 

“Healthy waterfowl populations and favorable habitat conditions are expected to provide an excellent hunting experience throughout New York this upcoming hunting season,” Commissioner Crotty said.  “Hunters will also benefit from the sustained recovery of migratory goose populations in northern Quebec, which allows DEC to offer generous Canada goose seasons in addition to the outstanding duck hunting opportunities normally available across the State.”

 

Commissioner Crotty also urged hunters to adhere to simple safety guidelines to ensure a safe, enjoyable and successful season.

 

The season dates, summarized in the following table, were developed by a team of DEC biologists from around the State, with input from waterfowl hunting enthusiasts.  New York's waterfowl seasons are based on federal regulatory requirements, plus input received from the public over the past several years.  The final 2004-2005 season dates are as follows:

 2004-2005 WATERFOWL HUNTING SEASONS

(regulations in effect September 1, 2004 through March 10, 2005)

Species

Western

Zone

Northeastern

Zone

Lake Champlain Zone

Southeastern

Zone

Long Island

Zone

 Ducks, Coot and

 Mergansers

Oct 23 - Dec 7

Dec 27 - Jan 9

Oct 2 - Oct 17

Oct 23 - Dec 5

Oct 6 - Oct 10

Oct 23 - Dec 16

Oct 9 - Oct 17

Nov 13 - Jan 2

Nov 20 - Nov 28

Dec 11 - Jan 30

Sea Ducks

same as above

same as above

same as above

same as above

Oct 16 - Jan 30

Pintail

Oct 23 - Nov 21

Oct 2 - Oct 17

Oct 23 - Nov 5

Oct 6 - Oct 10

Oct 23 - Nov 16

Nov 13 - Dec 12

Jan 1 - Jan 30

Canvasback

Nov 22 - Dec 7

Dec 27 - Jan 9

Nov 6 - Dec 5

Nov 1 - Nov 30

Dec 4 - Jan 2

Jan 1 - Jan 30

 Youth Days

Oct 9 & Oct 10

Sept 18 & Sept 19

Sept 25 & Sept 26

Sept 25 & Sept 26

Oct 30 & Oct 31

Canada Geese

see map below

see map below

see map below

see map below

see map below

 Snow Geese

Oct 23 - Jan 22

Feb 24 - Mar 10

Oct 2 - Jan 1

Feb 24 - Mar 10

Oct 6 - Dec 16

Oct 9 - Jan 8

Feb 24 - Mar 10

Nov 20 - Mar 6

 Brant

Oct 23 - Dec 11

Oct 2 - Nov 20

Oct 6 - Nov 24

Oct 9 - Nov 27

Dec 12 - Jan 30

 


Pennsylvania

Dutch Lake Damaged by Flooding

Lake to be drained, fishing restrictions relaxed

Dutch Fork Lake is closed to all boating.  The fall trout stocking scheduled for the week of October 18 is cancelled.  The stocking of the Delayed Harvest area on Dutch Fork Creek scheduled for the week of October 4 will continue as planned.

 

An assessment of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) properties in the aftermath of flooding associated with Hurricane Ivan has revealed serious damage to the spillway at Dutch Fork Lake in Washington County. Following consultation with dam safety officials at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the PFBC is taking prompt action to begin draining the lake.

 

The dam at Dutch Fork Lake is characterized a “high hazard dam,” meaning if the structure were to fail there would be a significant risk of downstream property damage. “While there is no immediate threat of dam failure at this time, the Commission is draining Dutch Fork Lake as a precautionary measure in the interest of public safety,” said PFBC Executive Director Dr. Douglas Austen. “The lake will be lowered in a controlled manner to limit disturbance in Dutch Fork Creek. Dutch Fork Lake will remain drained while the Commission pursues the funding needed to address the dam’s deficiencies.”

 

DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Management Cathy Curran Myers, lauded the Commission’s decision. "DEP's Division of Dam Safety is working closely with the Fish and Boat Commission to drain the reservoir to remove a potential threat to downstream residents. The Fish and Boat Commission deserves credit for acting quickly to address this problem. I encourage the owners of all dams, large and small, to

perform a thorough inspection of their structures following this flood event."

 

In conjunction with starting the draw down, the PFBC is removing season, size and daily creel limit restrictions for fishing at Dutch Fork Lake in Washington County. The relaxing of fishing restrictions, which takes place immediately, does not apply to Dutch Fork Creek upstream and downstream of the impoundment. The Commission will conduct fish salvage operations in conjunction with the draw down of the lake. Enhancing opportunities for anglers to harvest fish prior to salvage efforts provides both additional recreational opportunities and can help reduce the number of fish that will either be captured/transported or potentially stranded when the water level drops. Individuals or organizations interested in assisting with formal fish salvage operations can contact the PFBC's Southwest Regional Office at 814-445-8974. The Commission has not established a date for formal fish salvage efforts; lake conditions will dictate timing.

 

The Commission faces a $100+ million backlog of infrastructure needs. Rebuilding the dam at Dutch Fork Lake – a highly popular recreational facility that draws anglers and boaters from across the Pittsburgh area – is estimated to cost nearly $3 million. Commission operations are funded from the sale of fishing licenses and boat registrations. Currently there is no funding source the agency can tap into to address major capital project needs, such as rebuilding the dam at Dutch Fork Lake. A Green Ribbon Panel created by the General Assembly and Governor Rendell is actively exploring legislation to address a wide scope of environmental and natural resource funding needs. The draining of Dutch Fork Lake further illustrates the importance of including funding for PFBC projects in any future funding initiatives.

 

Dutch Fork Lake is closed to all boating. The fall trout stocking scheduled for the week of October 18 is cancelled. The stocking of the Delayed Harvest area on Dutch Fork Creek scheduled for the week of October 4 will continue as planned


Youth hunting seasons just around the corner

HARRISBURG - With autumn's arrival, the start of Pennsylvania's general small game and archery seasons are just around the corner.  However, before all licensed hunters get a chance to head afield, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross encouraged them to help make the upcoming youth squirrel and pheasant hunting seasons a success by introducing a youngster between 12 and 16 years of age to the hunting community.

 

"Part of the Game Commission's overall vision is to promote our state's rich hunting and trapping heritage," Ross said.  "The future of hunting and trapping is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians in our hunting and furtaking seasons.  The challenge is to successfully compete with all the other activities and recreational opportunities that vie for a teenager's time. It's truly a challenge for the Game Commission, as well as Pennsylvania's more than a million hunters."

 

The Board of Game Commissioners approved an expanded youth squirrel season for 2004.  In the past, the youth squirrel season was a two-day event.  Under this year's package, the Board established the 2004 youth squirrel season as Oct. 9-15.

 

The youth pheasant hunt will be held Oct. 9 and 11.  On Oct. 9, more than 30 sportsmen's clubs from across Pennsylvania will host a mentored youth pheasant hunt where they will provide specific instructions on pheasant hunting.  Each club also was able to receive Game Commission-raised pheasants to stock as part of the special hunt.

 

Under the youth squirrel and pheasant hunts, participants are not required to purchase a junior hunting license, but they must pass a Hunter-Trapper Education course.  As with all junior hunting, those participants 12 and 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other family member 18

years or older, and those 14 and 15 years old must be

accompanied by a person 18 years or older.  Also, all bag limits apply, including areas for harvesting male and female pheasants.

 

"These youth seasons take into account that students are off school on Saturday, Oct. 9, and most are off on Monday, Oct. 11, the Columbus Day holiday, as well," Ross said.  "The remainder of this youth squirrel season (Oct. 12-15) takes place before the change of daylight savings time.  This gives students an opportunity to go home after school and have two hours or so to hunt, which is a long-standing tradition in many rural parts of the state."

 

For the youth pheasant season, Game Commission personnel will stock 18,000 birds on 114 sites in 56 of the 65 counties where pheasants are stocked.  An additional 2,000 pheasants will be divided and shipped to more than 30 sportsmen's clubs that have signed up to host a mentored youth pheasant hunt.  Last year, 23 clubs hosted such hunts.   Youth hunters, however, are not limited to hunting in only those areas where pheasants have been stocked. The pheasant stocking locations and pheasant hunting area maps are outlined on pages 26-29 of the 2004-2005 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, as well as on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ).

 

Other recent Game Commission initiatives to promote youth hunting opportunities include: a youth spring gobbler season that was held in 2004 for the first time; a youth pheasant hunt that began in 2002; a youth waterfowl hunt initiated in 1996; special antlerless deer harvesting opportunities initiated in 1998, and expanded in 2000; and youth field days implemented in the early 1990s. Also, as part of the license fee increase approved in 1998, the General Assembly created a junior combination license that packages regular license privileges with archery, flintlock and furtaking opportunities for $9, compared to the regular junior license price of $6.


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